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Global Security Newswire

Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues

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Cesium Release From Fukushima Plant Compared to 168 Hiroshimas

Japanese government specialists project that the quantity of radioactive cesium 137 emitted to date from the crippled the Fukushima Daiichi atomic power plant equates to 168 times the amount of material released in the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Agence France-Presse reported (see GSN, Aug. 24).

Citing the work of nuclear experts, the Tokyo Shimbun reported the quantity of cesium that escaped the Japanese facility following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami was projected to be 15,000 terabecquerels. In comparison, only 89 terabecquerels were emitted by the detonation of the U.S. weapon dropped over over Hiroshima near the end of World War II, according to the newspaper.

The Kan administration provided the cesium projection to Japanese lawmakers.

The government, however, contends it is not appropriate to compare the two nuclear disasters.

"An atomic bomb is designed to enable mass killing and mass destruction by causing blast waves and heat rays and releasing neutron radiation," a government official told the newspaper. "It is not rational to make a simple comparison only based on the amount of isotopes released (Agence France-Presse/Spacewar.com, Aug. 25).

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